Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Little Rock Parks Move to Smoke Free


For the past twenty months or better, the Coalition for A Tobacco Free Arkanas lead the efforts along with American Heart Association and many other health partners and supporters, including the YES Team members worked with the City of Little Rock on a smoke-free parks policy. Speaking specifically, community advocate, Joe Arnold is to be commended for his relentless efforts to gain a smoke-free park policy for those who suffer from severe respiratory problems whereby they are prevented from enjoying the many activities offered in Little Rock Parks. But on October 1, 2009 things will change---October 1st is the date Little Rock’s smoke-free/tobacco free policy goes into effect. The entire public, many who suffer from heart and other chronic diseases will now be able to enjoy the great outdoors without concern of secondhand smoke exposure that can trigger a heart attack.

On July 15, 2009, City Manager, Bruce Moore took a giant pro-health step---he approved the proposed departmental smoke-free/tobacco free parks policy for all Little Rock parks including golf courses. The tobacco-free policy approved by Mr. Moore came via a recommendation from the very progressive Park Commission.

Let’s thank Mr. Moore and the Park Commission for setting the example that parks are meant to promote community wellness and tobacco free policies fit with this idea. Tobacco-free policies establish the community norm that tobacco use is not an acceptable behavior for young people or adults.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thank You Tour

Arkansas volunteers for the American Heart Association from all across the state conducted Legislative Thank You Tours to several state legislators. The tour was designed to thank decision makers on passing legislation that will have a life saving impact for years to come.

The targeted legislators were Senator Tracy Steele and Representative Gregg Reep who were lead sponsors of the tobacco tax increase bill that passed during the 87th General Assembly. Additional tour visits will be conducted throughout the summer.

The major piece of legislation was the 56 tobacco tax increase. With this bill the state will fund a statewide trauma system, Community Health Centers, provide funding for a statewide stroke registry, funding for automated external defibrillators for school across the state and many other health care needs.

All of those programs will address heart disease and stroke and reduce the death and burden caused by cardiovascular diseases.

The other legislation critical to heart and stroke was the passage of the AED/CPR Antony Hobbs, III Act, which requires all public schools to have on campus an automated external defibrillator and school personnel trained in CPR. Senator Steele was the lead sponsor of this bill as well.

Pictured left to right - Valarie Wade, Barbara kumpe, Rep. Gregg Reep, Janet Winslow, Wonder Lowe, Russell Melchert, Ph.d. and in front Ashton and Jordan Dollar.

Congress Moves Closer to Increasing Funding for NIH research.

In a July a Congressional subcommittee approves a 3.1% increase in research for the National Institute of Health. In a statement AHA President Clyde Yancy, M.D. commended the committee for their work:

“This increase, during these tough economic times, demonstrates a renewed national commitment to sustained and predictable funding growth for biomedical research. We urge the committee to maintain stable funding for 2011 when the temporary resources from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act expire,” Yancy said


What Moves U Challenge receives health information award


The What Moves U Challenge – a joint program of the American Heart Association and National Football League – has been honored with a National Health Information Award. The awards recognize the nation’s best consumer health information programs and materials.
The What Moves U Challenge received a Silver Award in the “Total Health Information Program” category. It was chosen from more than 1,000 entries judged by a national panel of health information experts.

The awards program is coordinated by the Health Information Resource Center, a national clearinghouse for consumer health information programs and materials.

Adult obesity rose in 23 states last year

Adult obesity rates increased in 23 states last year, and didn’t decline in any, according to a new report by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

According to the report:

· Mississippi had the highest obesity rate, 32.5 percent, for the fifth year in a row
· Oklahoma ranks 6th most obese at 29.5% for adults.
· The childhood obesity rate is also at 29.5% but that ranks 33 among all states.

According to the report, “F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America 2009,” obesity-related costs to Medicare and Medicaid are likely to grow significantly as the Baby Boomer generation ages, because of the large number of people in this population, the high rate of obesity and obesity’s negative health impact.

See F as in Fat 2009.

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